Originally published April 15, 2016
In the past, we’ve shared what human foods to avoid with dogs. But what do we eat that’s great for them? Although most dogs eat the same food every day for their meals, just like people they appreciate variety, so try mixing it up with these yummy “people foods” as treats.
In the nursery, puppies experience new tastes and sensations by getting to try blueberries, peas, and apples, frozen in a little bit of water. Arthur, pictured, loves playing with his ice cubes and then eating the fruit inside.
Veggies are great for dogs for the same reasons they are great for people - they are full of vitamins and antioxidants and relatively low in calories.
Peas - peas are starchy and have a sweet taste that dogs enjoy. Especially frozen, they make a great treat. Try them in a puzzle toy for extra fun.
Carrots - my own dog, Scooter, actually goes to the freezer to request the frozen peas and carrots medley we all remember from childhood. Some dogs also like raw carrots or boiled mashed carrots stuffed in a Kong. For teething puppies, you can freeze a whole full size carrot and let them chew it like a chew-bone. It tastes great and feels soothing on their gums.
Pumpkin - pumpkin is a wonderful food for dogs. It will get things moving for a constipated dog, and help firm things up for a dog with soft stool. Try mixing with their kibble and then freezing in a Kong.
Green beans - although not his favorite, Scooter likes green beans pretty well, and they are low calorie and filling - a good snack for those days when your dog has had all their food for the day but swears up and down that they are starving.
Greens - Kale, cabbage, and broccoli are all popular with some dogs. Be careful with these though - just like in humans, too much will cause gas - ick!
Speaking of gas, yogurt is great for a dog’s digestion. Scooter is partial to unflavored low fat yogurt. Greek yogurt is too tart for his liking. You can try different kinds until you find one your dog loves, just be cautious of too much sugar and avoid any artificial sweeteners. About a spoonful with a meal is the right amount. You don’t want to go overboard with dairy.
Cheese - Lowfat cheese makes a great training treat! Too much can upset the tummy, but in moderation, it’s delicious and healthy. Lowfat cottage cheese or ricotta freezes really well in a Kong.
Strictly speaking, dogs don’t “need” grain in their diets, which is why grain-free dog food is so popular, but grain does have some vitamins in it that are great for their kidneys and coats, so a little bit here and there is a good, safe treat. We are especially fond of:
Oatmeal! Scooter goes absolutely bonkers when we make oatmeal, especially with bananas.
White rice - this seems counterintuitive, since brown rice is healthier for humans, but with their shorter digestive tracts, dogs digest white rice much more easily. White rice makes an awesome treat or it can help settle an upset tummy.
Quinoa - be careful with this one though, because the itty bitty grains go everywhere so you will probably have to sweep or vacuum when your dog is done. Perhaps a good outside treat.
It bears repeating, never ever feed grapes or raisins to a dog or cat. However:
Mango is perfectly safe and very popular with dogs. Dried mango makes a great training treat. Look for dried mango without sulfites or feed very sparingly, or try making your own in the oven or food dehydrator.
Bananas - Scooter is bananas for bananas. Mashed bananas, frozen whole bananas as chew-bones, banana chips - you name it, he loves it.
Berries - just the right size to be a fun training treat, fresh or frozen.
Apples - Dried apple especially is a good treat because it can be easily carried in a treat pouch or pocket. If you decide to give fresh apples, make sure your dog doesn’t eat the seeds or core.
In short, be safe but have fun! Like humans, different dogs have different tastes - Scooter thinks cucumber is for the birds, but your dog may love it. Try different things, and if you’re ever in doubt about the safety of a food, a staff member at Delightful Dog would be happy to assist you.
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